A Statue with a Mythological story: Budhanilkantha Temple

29, Nov 2020 | nepaltraveller.com

Numerous myths are about the possibility of the statue actually ‘floating’ on the water.


Budhanikantha lies at the foot of Shivapuri Hill. This municipality inside Kathmandu Valley is a very famous destination among tourists for hiking, staying in luxurious hotels, wandering around the local alleys, and experiencing the local and cultural lifestyle of Nepalese people. Budhanilkantha is also famous for living through a cultural legend that revolves around Lord Shiva and a monumental statue of Lord Vishnu.

Legend of Lord Shiva

Budhanilkantha is derived from a Sanskrit word which translates to “old blue throat”, which signifies the blue patch that appeared in Lord Shiva's neck after drinking the poison to save the world. And the other legend is about the floating sculpture of Lord Vishnu. People believe that the water where the statue lies originates from Gosaikunda that was formed by Lord Shiva. The lake was formed to quench his thirst after drinking the poison.


Legend of the great statue that floats

The breathtaking sculpture of Lord Vishnu that floats on the same water is another attraction of Budhanilkantha. The statue is five meters long, lying in a horizontal position, and it is made with a single block of black basalt stone. It is also named “Sleeping Vishnu” or “Jalakshayan Narayan”. While trying to know about the origin of the statue you will be confused with various sayings and myths from different people. Some say it was engraved in the seventh century and was carried to the spot by Vishnu Gupta, working under the Licchavi ruler Bheemarjuna Dev. Another story is about a farmer hitting a stone who then sees blood flowing from the crack. After digging deeper they found that it was the lost Budhanilkantha statue and after that, they moved it to the lake.

Also, numerous myths are about the possibility of the statue actually ‘floating’ on the water. When researchers and archeologists tried to inspect and confirm it scientifically, religious obstructions were made stating that the statue carrying such a great legend must not be interfered with.


Present significance

The site is a pilgrimage site for thousands of devotees. This place is crowded especially during Haribondhini Ekadashi, the 11th day of the Hindu month of Kartik. It is a very significant festival in celebration of the awakening of Lord Vishnu from his long sleep. The devotees greet the deity by approaching Lord Vishnu’s feet and touching them and then make prayers. However, foreign visitors are forbidden to do this ritual due to traditional beliefs. Therefore, foreigners usually visit the Budhanilkantha temple with Nepalese guides.


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Where the River Begins: A Hike to Shivapuri Peak

Shivapuri-Nagarjun National Park

Pilgrimage Sites

Maha Shivaratri: The Night of Shiva

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